Who could coach the Wildcats next season?

Oct 11, 2011, 1:00 AM | Updated: 5:01 pm

The Arizona Wildcats need a new football coach, and athletic
director Greg Byrne has said he will conduct a thorough
search for Mike Stoops’ replacement.

While many names will be thrown around — some bigger than
others — it’s important to note that the chances of
anything being done before the end of the season is slim.

That said, here’s a list of guys who may be a good fit in
the Old Pueblo, realistic or otherwise.

Former Arizona star Ricky Hunley, now an 
assistant linebackers coach for the NFL's 
Oakland Raiders, was a finalist for the job in 
2003 when Stoops was hired. There will be a 
push from some boosters to bring in the former 
Wildcat. Houston coach Kevin Sumlin is an intriguing 
possibility for Arizona. Just 37, he's turned 
the Cougars into winners and could be looking 
to make a move to a bigger school. Another coach who left because of NCAA 
penalties, Butch Davis, might be looking to get 
a fresh start somewhere else. He took North 
Carolina from an afterthought to a legitimate 
threat before being fired. It is a long shot but if the embattled Jim 
Tressel ever wants to coach again, he will have 
to start somewhere. Tressel left Ohio State 
University amidst controversy and penalties but 
if he can keep it clean, nobody would complain. Former Oregon coach Mike Bellotti is an 
intriguing possibility for the Wildcats. 
Bellotti would be familiar with the Pac-12 
conference and he is a consistent winner, 
leading the Ducks to 12 bowl appearances in his 
14 years as the school's head coach. Rich Rodriguez could find redemption out west 
by taking the job at Arizona. Rodriguez 
experienced great success at West Virginia 
University before taking over at the University 
of Michigan. He lasted three seasons at 
Michigan, going 15-22 before being fired. Arizona might be looking for a big-name coach 
to help bolster the football program, and Mike 
Leach would definitely bring a lot of attention 
down south. The former Texas Tech coach has 
said he would like coach again, and the 
controversial Leach led the 2008 Red Raiders to 
an 11-2 record and an appearance in the Cotton 
Bowl. Boise State head coach Chris Petersen's name 
is always floated around when a big school is 
looking for a coach. Petersen has put up a 
66-5 record for a winning percentage of .929 
at Boise State, but the knock against him has 
been the competition his teams play. He has a 
good relationship with Arizona A.D. Greg 
Byrne and turning Tucson's team into a 
winning school would cement his legacy.

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